The Open University Review: My Journey to a BA

I’m thrilled to share my educational journey with you, one that has been filled with both challenges and triumphs. In my early twenties, I embarked…

The Open University Review

I’m thrilled to share my educational journey with you, one that has been filled with both challenges and triumphs. In my early twenties, I embarked on a life-changing adventure with The Open University (OU), which ultimately led to me earning a BA degree. If you’re interested in learning about the ins and outs of my journey and the incredible opportunities that The Open University offers, stick around – this post is for you!

Leaving School with No Grades

I want to kick things off with a little backstory about how I ended up choosing The Open University as my path to higher education. My high school years were challenging, mainly due to my battle with anxiety. Sadly, this condition led me to leave school without any grades to my name. It was a difficult decision, but I knew I needed to prioritize my mental health.

Fast forward to a few years later when I started contemplating going to university. It was no secret that traditional universities required a stack of qualifications and grades, which I didn’t have. This was where The Open University stood out, offering a lifeline to people like me. The OU didn’t discriminate based on prior grades, making it possible for me to pursue a higher education degree without any prior qualifications.

The Open University Review, My First Year: Criminology and Law

With the door to higher education wide open, I eagerly ventured into my first year with The Open University, enrolling in the BA (Honours) Criminology and Law course (Course code: Q92). The world of criminology was fascinating, and I was genuinely excited to learn more about it. As I delved into the course materials, I realized that criminology was not only interesting but also full of real-world applications.

However, as time went on, I started to have second thoughts about my choice. It wasn’t the content of the course but rather the career prospects in criminology that concerned me. I knew I wanted to work from home, and criminology didn’t seem to offer many remote job opportunities.

Earning a Certificate in Higher Education for Criminology and Law

Despite my doubts about the career prospects, I persevered through my first year at The Open University. The first year was focused on completing the initial 120 credits, which didn’t contribute to my overall grade – you just needed to pass it. This setup allowed me to gain confidence and get a feel for how online learning worked.

By the end of that first year, I earned a Certificate in Higher Education for Criminology and Law. It was a proud moment, and it gave me the boost I needed to pursue my dream of earning a full BA degree.

Second Year: Starting Fresh with Business Management

My second year at The Open University was a turning point. I decided to switch gears and opted for the BA (Honours) Business Management program. The decision to start over in a new field was daunting, but my determination to get a BA degree in business management was stronger than ever.

The transition from criminology to business management wasn’t seamless. I found the course more challenging initially, but about six months into my first year of 120 credits, I started to grasp the language and concepts better. This understanding was a game-changer, making my tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) more manageable.

The Open University Review: Pros and Cons

Before I dive into my current year at The Open University, let’s talk about some of the pros and cons I’ve encountered along the way. I believe it’s essential to consider both sides of the coin when deciding on higher education, and The Open University is no exception.


  1. Limited Interaction: One significant drawback of The Open University is the limited interaction with fellow students, and it’s something I believe deserves a closer look. While the flexibility of online learning is a significant advantage, the lack of physical classrooms and face-to-face interactions can create feelings of isolation.

    In a traditional university setting, you can engage in impromptu discussions with classmates, chat during breaks, and form study groups effortlessly. It’s an environment where connections can flourish, and you can count on the camaraderie and support of your peers.

    At The Open University, it’s a different story. If you don’t actively seek out interaction, you may find yourself studying in relative isolation. The absence of physical classroom settings means there are no casual conversations during breaks or shared struggles over a particularly challenging assignment. It can be a solitary experience, especially for those who thrive on social connections and discussions to enhance their learning experience.

    One way to mitigate this drawback is to engage with student text groups and other online communities related to your course. While these platforms offer an avenue for interaction, they may not replicate the same spontaneous discussions and friendships you might form in a physical classroom. It can sometimes feel like an uphill battle to build meaningful connections when you’re thousands of miles away from your fellow students.

    The limited interaction aspect of The Open University isn’t an insurmountable challenge, but it does require proactive effort. It’s up to you to initiate conversations, join discussions, and find opportunities for collaboration. While it may feel a bit disconnected at times, remember that the focus is on independent, self-motivated learning.

    In a way, this limitation can also be seen as a positive aspect, particularly for those who value the independence and self-reliance required in a professional career. You learn to manage your time, set your pace, and take ownership of your education. But, for those who thrive on the social aspects of traditional university life, this aspect of The Open University may require some adjustment.
  2. Tutorials: Another aspect of my journey with The Open University that’s worth discussing is the tutorial system. While tutorials are an essential part of the learning process, my experience with them had its fair share of challenges. One of the primary issues I encountered was that the tutorials, while necessary for clarifying complex concepts and providing a platform for discussions, often felt repetitive. The content discussed in tutorials frequently echoed what was already covered in the course materials. This repetition could be frustrating, especially when you were eagerly seeking additional insights or different perspectives on the subject matter.

    This redundancy in tutorial content might lead to a sense of missed opportunities. Students, including myself, were often left hoping for more in-depth discussions, real-world applications, or supplementary materials that could have enriched our understanding further. Instead, it sometimes felt like a revisiting of what we already knew, which wasn’t the most effective use of our time.

    Furthermore, the availability of tutorial sessions was another aspect that left me somewhat dissatisfied. In my first year at The Open University, I found myself participating in just one tutorial session, and that too, mostly focused on addressing referencing concerns. This limited access to tutorials can be a source of frustration, especially when you crave additional guidance, discussion, and clarification on the course content.

    One of the expectations students often have when considering higher education is the opportunity to engage with experienced educators who can guide them through the complexities of their chosen subject. However, in my experience, the tutors at The Open University had minimal interaction with students beyond addressing specific queries. This lack of personal connection could make the learning journey feel somewhat impersonal, which is a marked contrast to the relationships that often develop between students and professors in traditional university settings.

    In a traditional university, professors and students often have the chance to establish mentorship relationships, access additional resources, and gain valuable insights from experts in their fields. The limited interaction with tutors at The Open University can leave students feeling somewhat disconnected from this aspect of the academic experience.

    It’s important to note, though, that the tutorial system at The Open University is designed to support self-directed learners. While the lack of extensive interaction with tutors might be seen as a drawback, it also forces students to become more independent in their studies. This self-reliance can be a valuable skill in many professional settings, but it’s essential to be prepared for this aspect of The Open University’s approach.


  1. Self-Motivation: When you embark on your academic journey with The Open University, you’re stepping into a realm where your self-discipline and intrinsic motivation become your guiding forces. It’s a realm where you are responsible for your learning, making it a priceless skill that transcends the realm of academia. Being self-motivated means you don’t rely on external factors, such as teachers or peers, to push you forward. You become the driver of your own education, setting goals, creating study schedules, and, most importantly, adhering to them. This kind of self-reliance is a valuable asset in any career you pursue.

    In the professional world, self-motivated individuals are the ones who consistently meet deadlines, exceed expectations, and are proactive in seeking new opportunities. They don’t wait for their supervisors to guide them; they take initiative and continuously strive for excellence. Studying at The Open University fosters this quality by teaching you to manage your time, prioritize tasks, and work diligently towards your goals. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a remote worker, or part of a traditional workforce, the ability to motivate yourself is a game-changer.
  2. Flexibility: The flexibility offered by The Open University is a true game-changer, particularly for individuals with demanding work or family commitments. Traditional brick-and-mortar universities often necessitate a rigid schedule that can conflict with other responsibilities, leaving students in a bind. However, with The Open University, you have the remarkable ability to study from anywhere in the world, remotely. This means that you can seamlessly integrate your studies into your daily life, whether you’re a parent, a working professional, or someone who needs to balance multiple roles. It’s an educational approach that truly respects the diverse realities of students’ lives.

    The flexibility also allows you to adapt your learning experience to your own rhythm. You can study during the early morning hours or late at night, whichever suits you best. This personalization of your educational journey can significantly enhance your effectiveness as a learner, as you’re not bound by rigid timetables and can optimize your study time when you’re at your most focused and alert.
  3. Cost-Effective: The financial aspect of higher education is a major concern for many students. Traditional brick-and-mortar universities often come with hefty tuition fees, accommodation costs, and other expenses that can be overwhelming, especially for those with financial constraints. One of the standout advantages of The Open University is its cost-effectiveness. The fees for courses are often more affordable compared to traditional universities. You can save on accommodation, commuting, and various other costs associated with attending a physical institution.

    This cost-effectiveness not only eases the financial burden but also allows you to focus more on your studies without worrying about crippling student loans or the stress of part-time work to support your education.
  4. Vast Resources: The Open University library is a treasure trove of resources that can significantly enrich your learning experience. The best part? They’re all available for free. You’ll never be short of study materials or references for your assignments, making your academic journey smoother and more enjoyable. The vast resources encompass books, journals, research papers, and multimedia materials, covering a wide range of subjects. Whether you’re conducting research, preparing for exams, or simply looking to deepen your understanding of a particular topic, the library has you covered. The wealth of resources at your disposal allows you to explore your interests and broaden your knowledge base.

My Final Year with The Open University Review

As I write this post, I’m gearing up to start my final year with The Open University, which involves completing the last 120 credits required for my BA degree. It’s been an incredible journey so far, and I’m excited to see it through to the end.

If I could offer any advice to those considering The Open University, it would be to embrace the self-motivation it requires and take advantage of the flexibility. While it might not be for everyone, it has certainly worked wonders for me. Plus, the range of courses available is impressive, and the opportunities are vast.

The Open University Review Business School: A Game-Changer

Studying at The Open University Business School has significantly impacted my life. The flexibility it offers allowed me to gain a full-time job in the business sector while continuing my studies. This flexibility has been a game-changer for me and has helped me achieve my dreams.

My journey with The Open University has been nothing short of transformative. It has allowed me to overcome the obstacles that life threw my way, and I’m now on the cusp of achieving a BA degree. If you’re looking for a flexible, affordable, and self-motivated approach to higher education, I wholeheartedly recommend The Open University.

So, what’s your higher education journey like? Are you considering The Open University as well? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments, and let’s chat about it. Remember, with determination and the right educational choice, you can overcome any obstacle and achieve your dreams!

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